Nashville Predators: Western Canada Road Trip Begins In Vancouver

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 30: Markus Granlund
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 30: Markus Granlund /

The Nashville Predators will begin a frostbitten road trip to the far reaches of Western Canada as they open against the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday.

After some much-needed rest, the Nashville Predators will begin their three game road trip to Western Canada Wednesday night against Vancouver. This will be the second of three meetings this season. Game one saw Nashville lose to Vancouver 3 – 5 on November 30.

Nashville comes into this road trip 7 -1 – 2 in their last ten games. They have six games remaining before December 25 and will play four of those on the road. The team has yet to lose in regulation this month, a streak they hope will continue.

Vancouver enters tonight’s match 4 – 5 – 1 in their last nine games. Additionally, they sit in sixth place in the NHL Pacific Division. The Canucks have lost their last three contests, scoring a combined four goals.

Injury Report

Vancouver’s injury list includes key players Sven BaertschiBo Horvat and Brandon Sutter. Baertschi and Horvat will definitely be out for Wednesday’s game, though Sutter remains questionable. Horvat and Baertschi rank two and three, respectively, in points on the team.

Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette stated earlier this week that all players would be making the three game road trip and would be game time decisions. Ryan Johansen and Scott Hartnell have been taking rushes with top lines in this week’s practices and their return looks to be tonight. Ryan Ellis has also been skating with the team and remains on track to resume play around the New Year. Additionally, Kyle Turris will play, despite leaving practice earlier this week when he took a puck to the face.

What To Watch For

Brock & Roll

The Vancouver Canucks have received a surprising amount of help from rookie forward Brock Boeser this season. The twenty year old Burnsville, MN native has tallied 16 goals and 12 assists this season to lead the team with 28 points.

While the Canucks will have their number two and number three scorers (Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi) out for injury, Boeser gives the team some confidence. In the first meeting of the three game season series against Nashville, Boeser scored twice and had an assist in the five to three victory.

Boeser’s greatest talents lie in finding open ice and being in the right place at the right time. He also knows just how to set the puck up to find the back of the net:

Boeser sets this one up very nicely. He uses the defender to screen Pekka Rinne and changes the angle of the shot with a slick toe drag. Nashville will need to take away the time and space he always seems to find. With the other big boys out for the game, shutting down Boeser will likely mean a win.

Power Play Punch

The Nashville Predators now have the second best power play in the NHL (for a closer look at the PP, click here). Additionally, they still possess the best home power play in the league. And, while they rank in the bottom fifteen, Nashville has steadily improved their road power play. Reflecting on their last two away games, they registered two power play goals in Dallas on December 5 and one power play goal in Carolina on November 26.

Since November 15, the Predators have had the best power play in the league. If they continue to move the puck, they will get good scoring chances. Watch for them to take advantage against a struggling Canucks team.

Tonight’s Line Ups


Kevin Fiala– Kyle Turris- Craig Smith

Filip ForsbergCalle JarnkrokPontus Aberg

Nick Bonino– Ryan Johansen – Viktor Arvidsson

Scott Hartnell – Colton SissonsAustin Watson


Roman JosiMattias Ekholm

Alexei EmelinP.K. Subban

Anthony BitettoYannick Weber


Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

(Note: The Predators have not confirmed a starting goaltender for tonight’s game)

Next: Big Game Hunting in Western Canada

How To Watch & Listen

Tonight’s game can be seen on Fox Sports Tennessee at 10/9 CT with pre-game coverage beginning at 9:30/8:30 CT. You can also listen to the game on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network.